Is evil necessary?

(Logu Mohanraj) #1

Hello Everyone,

My question is related to free will and evil paradox. I have heard Ravi Zacharias tackling it in the following way, stating in a manner that of all the ways in which God could have created a world, only in a world where there is a possibility of evil is genuine love also possible.

Having said that, God has promised a new eternal creation where there would be no evil. And I also assume it would be a world where we would still have free will.
If such a world is possible, could it have been achieved without evil?(i.e. to have the freedom of choice without having to exercise it for evil)
In that sense was evil a necessity for creating a heart that was circumcised with God’s law?

I hope you are able to get the gist of the reasoning behind my question.

(Steve Kell) #2

I love the question. What answer is given is the root of our life. There is no answer that does not include God. God defines good, and therefore there is evil. The absence of God creates no definition of good, nothing absolute. I would say evil is 100% necessary. Heaven creates a new set of questions for me, but I’d love to hear a way of explaining the world where evil is unnecessary.

(SeanO) #3

@logu.mohanraj I think the first thing to understand is that evil is not a ‘thing’ - God did not create evil. Evil is not a substance or power that needs to be created - rather, it is an attitude toward God and a distortion of God’s good creation. Evil results when we tell God ‘No’ - when we see what God ordains and choose to go our own way.

My short answer to your question: Is free will with the ability to choose evil necessary for us to enjoy Heaven with free will? is yes, because that it is by the testing of our faith that we grow in maturity. And I think we can dive deeper by asking a few questions:

  • why does God explicitly test our faith? Think Abraham and Isaac, or Job, or Hezekiah when it explicitly says God ‘removed His Spirit to test what was in his heart’ (2 Chron 32:31)?
  • why did God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden?
  • Hebrews 5:8 even says that ‘Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered’

There is something about the testing of our faith that prepares us to dwell with God - it helps us to grow in maturity and wisdom. Perhaps that is not only at the individual level, but also as the Body of Christ.

James 1:2-4 - Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Romans 5:3-5 - Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Admittedly that is not a full explanation - what about children who die when they are young and go to Heaven? Their faith has not been tested. There are many unanswered questions, but I think one of my favorite verses comes to mind here.

Deut 29:29 - The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

There are mysteries, but I think that we can see clearly from Scripture that suffering / the ability to choose evil / the testing of our faith produce maturity and wisdom that could not have been gained another way.

Here are some other threads on Connect with similar lines of thought you may find useful. Christ grant you wisdom :slight_smile:

(Andrea L) #4

Hi @logu.mohanraj, " Is evil necessary?" that’s a challenging question. I have another one.
What came to my mind reading yours is a parallel to darkness.
Darkness is the lack of light. Can we see evil as lack of good(ness)?